The Response to Disasters Popular Exercise, Meteoro 2017, took place this weekend, across the country. Photo: Yusmary Romero Cruz

The country's ability to react when faced with severe earthquakes, hurricanes, prolonged drought, or disasters of a health nature was put to the test this weekend, May 20-21, during the Response to Disasters Popular Exercise, Meteoro 2017.

In the country's 15 provinces and the Isle of Youth Special Municipality, a variety of practical actions were carried out, focused on reducing vulnerability via prevention and preparedness, as the principal means to mitigate the impact of such events.

Search and rescue brigades composed of members of the National Revolutionary Police, the Firefighting Corps, and Red Cross medical staff, gathered in the parking lot of Havana's Latinoamericano Stadium. Photo: Yaimí Ravelo

Activities in the Havana municipality of Plaza included clearing of storm sewers in several areas close to the waterfront, in the Vedado neighborhood, which have been affected by flooding during storms, as well as the pruning of trees.

Clearing of debris from riverfronts was also a focus in the municipalities of Guanabacoa and San Miguel del Padrón, while illegal garbage dumps and breeding grounds for mosquitoes were cleaned up across the capital.

Storm sewers were cleared of debris in the Vedado neighborhood, which has been affected by flooding during storms. Photo: Yaimí Ravelo

The Latinoamericano Stadium's parking lot served as the gathering site for search and rescue brigades which are always ready to respond in any area of the country where they might be needed. This preparedness trial run was led by Brigadier General Raúl Acosta Gregorich, head of the Western Army's Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Trees were pruned across the city, to prevent damage caused by falling limbs during hurricanes. Photo: Yaimí Ravelo